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Teresita's of San Fernando carves its own niche in the restaurant business

Fourth-generation Razons put up Teresita's and are proving they can be as equally successful in the restaurant business.
By Toni Antiporda |

 

GROWING FRANCHISE. Since 2011, Teresita's of San Fernando has grown to 11 branches, 4 of which are franchised. Photo courtesy of Teresita's of San Fernando 

 

When one thinks of halo-halo and pancit lug-lug, only one name comes to mind: Razon's.

 

These halo-halo and pancit lug-lug recipes were once meant only for the eating pleasure of the extended Razon family, up until the sisters Severina, Elena, and Virginia—all of whom are unmarried—decided to put up a store in 1972 in the small town of Guagua, Pampanga.

 

Here, the sisters reintroduced their now famous halo-halo, which consists mainly of three ingredients: macapuno, banana, and leche flan.

 

In 1996, the three sisters finally decided to allow their second-generation nephews and nieces to take over and grow the business. Now, you see the offshoot brands like Razon's of Guagua and Razon's by Glenn. Teresita Razon was also one of their first relatives to open a store outside of Guagua in 2000.

 

But while Razon's is still the name to beat in halo-halo and pancit lug-lug, fourth-generation Razons Ryan and Paulo, the sons of Teresita, thought that living in the shadow of the well-known family name impeded further growth of the business.

 

“We noticed that customers get confused, and that somehow affects the business,” said Ryan, now CEO of Teresita's of San Fernando. “Our other relatives really depend on the Razon family name to earn a living, but we knew that our strength was in product development,” he added.

 

 

ON THE MENU. Clockwise from left: All-time favorites like the halo-halo, kare-kare, and pancit lug-lug are still on the menu. Photos courtesy of Teresita's of San Fernando 

 

A new food business

So, in 2011, the brothers Ryan and Paulo Razon asked their mother Teresita if they can take a risk and start a new food business from scratch, which will leverage on her name and her recipes rather than the Razon family name. “Because if we really trust and believe in our products, we can make it and not just depend on the family name,” Ryan added.

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Thus, Teresita's of San Fernando was born. The bold move worked to their advantage as Teresita's has grown to 11 branches, four branches of which are franchised. Teresita's personal recipes, such as the kare-kare and caldereta, eventually became the items that really clicked with customers. “We also introduced innovations, such as kare-kare and caldereta good for single servings,” Ryan added.

 

Of course, the all-time favorite halo-halo and pancit lug-lug are still on the menu.

 

 

ALL IN THE FAMILY. From left: Paulo, Jess, Teresita, and Ryan Razon remain hands-on in managing their family's growing restaurant business. Photo courtesy of Teresita's of San Fernando 

 

Growing via franchising

They opened Teresita's for franchising in 2014.

 

“We really studied it carefully, because we also didn't want to damage the brand if our franchising efforts didn’t succeed,” said Ryan. “We became aggressive only because we saw that we were really accepted by the market, and that there were a lot of franchise inquiries,” he added.

 

The brothers got the help of Francorp Philippines for the development of their franchise system, and eventually came up with three franchise packages: full store, an in-line store called Teresita's Express, and carts, which will serve only halo-halo and pancit lug-lug. “This [the cart] is for entrepreneurs who want to franchise the brand, but who do not have the capital to invest in a full store,” said Ryan.

 

While the brothers admit that Metro Manila is a big market and would be great for further growth of Teresita's, they also know that its success still depends a lot on the choice of location. “Right now, of our 11 branches, only two are located outside of the major malls,” said Ryan.

 

Teresita, now 61 years old, is not one to take the back seat when it comes to the restaurant named after her. While she is letting her sons handle the daily operations of Teresita's branches all over Metro Manila, she is still the one managing their storage and commissary in Pampanga. “She doesn’t go here anymore, because it’s more stressful in (Metro) Manila,” Ryan quipped.

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Franchise package 

Franchise fee: P300,000 ($6,389.71) for the full store 

Total investment: P2.5 million($53,264.52)  for the full store 

Contract term: 5 years, renewable  

Inclusions: Rights to use trademark, name, and logo; operating systems; initial training; business opening assistance; site evaluation and construction assistance, among others

 

 

Teresita's of San Fernando 

teresitasofsanfernando.com 

+63 926-6658321

nozarsinc[at]yahoo.com

 

*****

Toni is the deputy associate editor of Entrepreneur.com.ph. Follow her on Twitter, @toni_antiporda.

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